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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

McGinty: 'Any Suggestion That This Office is Protecting Police is Baseless'

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 1:11 PM

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Responding to the outpouring of criticism after his officer released two independent reports ruling the shooting death of Tamir Rice "justified" and "reasonable," County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty is snapping back at those who are questioning his prosecutorial intent.

"Any suggestion that this office is protecting police is baseless and soundly rebutted when our record of prosecutions against police is reviewed," he said in a public statement released Monday night. 

But one need look no further than McGinty's bobbling of the Roger Jones case — an instance wherein a Cleveland police officer shot and killed a man named Kenny Smith downtown — to find, at the very least, a "suggestion" of untoward investigative clout. (Smith was unarmed and, according to witness testimony, only tangentially connected to a fight and a shooting that erupted out of a nearby bar that night.) 

In 2014, ruling the shooting “justified,” McGinty hailed Jones for "correctly and heroically [taking] action to protect the safety of the citizens of Cleveland."

When a federal jury awarded $5.5 million to Smith's family in relation to Jones' reported excessive use of force and Smith's wrongful death, McGinty suddenly walked back his remarks and called for a fresh review. (The city, separately, filed a motion to dismiss the award. The Jones case is a sterling example of many justice-related machinations on the north coast.)

Anyway. It's not even that all critics of the Rice reports are calling out McGinty for a tainted grand jury process or for "protecting police" (though plenty are); the issue raised this week is one that demands to grasp why the reports were commissioned and published in the first place, ahead of a likely grand jury convening.

To that question, McGinty cites "transparency," while Rice's family and a good deal of the general public wonders how this thing remains so one-sided and foregone after 11 months of so-called investigations.

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